The Captain returns as CC pitches Yanks to 3-2 win


Before Joe Girardi officially filled out his lineup card, there was uncertainty as to whether Derek Jeter would play in last night’s series finale against the Blue Jays. The Captain has been suffering what he calls a sore oblique, never an easy injury for a baseball player. It requires rest to heal. Unfortunately, rest does not fit Derek Jeter’s M.O. He returned to the lineup, though, and came through for the Yanks on more than one occasion.

His first act came in the bottom of the sixth. With Alex Rios on first and two men out, Jose Bautista worked a 2-2 count on CC Sabathia. The hefty lefty had unleashed a barrage of fastballs in the at bat, two hitting 94, one 96, and the latest one 97. On the fifth pitch he pulled the string, dropped to 85 mph. Bautista pulled it toward the hole, but there would be no Pasta Diving on this evening. Jeter laid out and snared the grounder, flipping to Cano to finish the inning.

Then, with the Yanks down 2-1 in the top of the seventh, Jeter was presented with one of those RISP situations in which the Yanks have generally failed this season. Brett Gardner had worked a four-pitch walk off Brian Tallet, his fifth of the night. Girardi called for a hit and run on a 2-1 count, and it couldn’t have gone any better. Frankie grounded one to short, which Marco Scutaro almost certainly would have turned into a double play if he weren’t out of position. He was, the ball squeaked through, and to the plate strolled Derek Jeter with two on and none out.

After taking a strike out the outside edge from new pitcher Jason Frasor, The Captain did what he does best. On a 94 mph fastball on the inside edge, Jeter did his inside-oot (as the Blue Jays broadcasters said) thing, lofting a ball over John McDonald’s head and into shallow right for a game-tying single. It was Jeterian in every sense of the term. Unfortunately, the 2-3-4 hitters couldn’t plate the RISP. The Yanks would have to save the comeback for another inning.

Leave it to Godzilla. Exactly one week after he hit a solo home run to tie the game against the Rays, he did the exact same thing. Except this time it put the Yanks on top. On a 2-2 count, Matsui took a Jesse Carlson slider, the first he’d thrown in the at bat, over the right-center field wall, giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead. It was Matsui’s first hit since the series opener in Baltimore last Friday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

CC Sabathia wasn’t quite as good as his last start, but eight innings, two runs is the mark of an ace, even if he didn’t get there in the most efficient fashion. Only one of his four walks came back to haunt him, but for a while that run loomed large, as it gave the Jays a 2-1 advantage. That inning, the bottom of the fifth, could have been a lot worse had Brett Gardner and Frankie Cervelli not hooked up to get Rod Barajas trying to score on a John McDonald single. We’ve seen Gardner try to uncork a throw or two this year, usually with disastrous results. On this one he took his time, throwing a strike in time to get Barajas and keep the Jays from extending the lead.

Sabathia took care of the rest, getting Marco Scutaro to ground out on the first pitch, ending the threat. True to form, CC powered through three more frames, laying his own bridge to Mo. Like Mo of old, he came in and mowed down the Jays, throwing six of his 11 pitches for strikes and retiring the Jays in order.

While the Yanks’ inability to capitalize on Tallet’s five walks was a bit frustrating, it’s tough to complain about this win. It was a close game wherein the Yankees scored a run in three separate innings. Whereas last week we talked about how the Yankees were finding ways to lose, today they found another way to win: by manufacturing a run or two and relying on some timely hitting. The win brought the Yanks back to .500, a mark they hopefully won’t see the rest of the season (though this isn’t the first time I’ve typed that).

The Yanks head back home tomorrow night for a four-game set against the Twinkies. It’s the disappointing Phil Hughes vs. the disappointing Francisco Liriano. I’m betting one of them won’t disappoint.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. RCK says:

    It feels so good to be on the winning side of one of these close games!

  2. Tom Zig says:

    Phranchise vs. Franchise…interesting match up. Here is to hoping that the real Phranchise shows up.

  3. dkidd says:

    supposed to rain all weekend, of course

  4. Yankees Ben says:

    nice review just one lil’ thing McDonald played second and Scutaro short. but hey a nice win.

  5. yankees=warriors says:

    Hope Hughes does well so that if he is sent down after this start, he’ll have gone on a positive note and has something to build off of.

    Don’t know why I didn’t notice before, but after listening to Gardner’s postgame interview today, I would say he has a cute kinda accent. Is it just the way he talks, or is that typical of where he came from?

  6. Nick says:

    There is a chance Hughes and Liriano disappoint and there are double digits on the board by the end of the game.

    • Tom Zig says:

      That’s okay we excel in those type of games.

    • JP says:

      I say Hughes mows down the twinkies. He’s reeeeeally close to breaking through. Even when Baltimore shelled him, it seemed like they were hitting good pitches.

      The guy struck out Youkilis in that Boston outing. Yeah just one batter, but how many people have made stupid-looking-and-no-longer-hip-goatee man with the praying mantis batting stance swing and miss this year?

  7. ARX says:

    A 2-1 series win, and a trio of Boston losses…this may be the best Friday morning at work in ages.

  8. JP says:

    I love that kind of baseball game.

  9. Will says:

    One of the best things to come out of the win was Mo backed up his Baltimore outing with the same increased velocity and movement. Nearly every cutter he threw was 92-93mph with a PitchFx of 11-13″. That’s pretty much the old Mo and a vast improvement from the loss to Tampa Bay. If Mo sustains this improvement and Bruney can return soon, then the bullpen might be ok…not great, but ok.

    • JP says:

      Glad to hear you say this, because that wasn’t the impression I got from the YES gun and the views of his pitches.

      I’m NOT saying you’re wrong, I’m saying I was worried about the YES ratings of 89-90 on the fastballs, considering the YES gun is considered to err on the high side.

      The cutters, to me anyway, didn’t look like they had lots of “boring” movement, but they didn’t hit ‘em, so maybe they did.

      • “I’m NOT saying you’re wrong, I’m saying I was worried about the YES ratings of 89-90 on the fastballs, considering the YES gun is considered to err on the high side.”

        Is that so? When I watch games on YES and check pitch velocity through MLB it always seems like the YES gun actually errs on the low side.

        • JP says:

          Maybe so…but the ‘rap on it is that it’s artificially high. Then again, I probably read that on the anti-Yankee baseball network, ESPN

        • Will says:

          The YES gun is very unreliable…I’ve noticed enough fastball’s clocked in the 60s to not put much credence in it.

          The figures I sited were from PitchFX accessed from’s Gameday application. PitchFX uses two cameras taking 25 pictures of each pitch. It’s not infallible, but I think it is the most reliable source.

        • BklynJT says:

          What confuses me is that years ago the YES gun had Mo clocked in at the mid 90′s.

          Maybe the gun at the new stadium reads the velocity at different location (mid way towards home plate as opposed to right out of the pitchers hand) which can result in a lower velocity reading.

          • “What confuses me is that years ago the YES gun had Mo clocked in at the mid 90’s.”

            Well, years ago Mo WAS throwing in the mid 90s.

          • Will says:

            Where the gun reads the speed is definitely a factor. Also, the calibration of the gun along with its position relative to the ball are likely reasons for variance.

            By using multiple cameras instead of a radar device, PitchFX “should” be a more reliable determinant of speed (because it can link up distances with times).

  10. ChrisS says:

    Cervelli is a fine backup catcher. Good gun, not afraid of blocking the plate, and seems to have a good idea of where to set-up. Compare the throw from Gardner to Frankie, off-line and on a hop IIRC, to the throw from Melky to Cash the other night, on target and on a hop. Cash was eaten up and the run scored. Molina’s good, but is Cervelli just as good with higher upside?

    • JP says:

      I don’t know about the upside, although I guess compared to Molina, who was about as bad an offensive player as you can be last season, maybe you’re right. I agree, Cervelli does look very competent behind the plate.

    • The Lodge says:

      Cervelli is impressive behind the plate. He calls a great game and has really soft hands; he seems to have a great feel for and can read the hitters; and he works that days ump’s strikezone really well. I think we lucked out with this guy (offense aside), Molina can take his time rehabbing.

      • JP says:

        You might be right, but over the years, I’ve noticed that ANY time a team starts using a new catcher, everyone praises him for doing a great job “calling the game and handling the pitchers.” Not saying he isn’t…but these are the same things they said about Molina a year ago.

        At the very least, I don’t think we’re losing anything, compared to Molina, with Cervelli.

        • jsbrendog says:

          if their game caling abilities are even close, then you have to go with cervelli as he can actually walk faster than jomo can run, and even tho he is a historically poor hitter, he is so young that his upside, even tho possibly nonexistent, is to remain on a stable plane AT LEAST, where as jomo is on the ever so fateful plunge into below replacement level.

          so i feel more than comfortable saying in this situation, in a vacuum, based solely on these two players, that cervelli is molina with bigger upside.

  11. Axl says:

    Well has Hughes gotten battered 4 or 5 games in a row yet? If he has he may be in line for a gem tonight…if it’s only been 2 or 3 absolute beatings in a row for Hughes…then unfortunately we’re just going to have to suffer through a few more :( Hey, I don’t make the rules…

  12. Hobbes says:

    I thought if Jeter came back, he would be out 3 months?

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      It’s caled a risk. Which the apparenty retarded Joe Girardi wanted to avoid so he benched Jeter. Jeter was okay to play so he played.

      • jsbrendog says:

        so why is girardi apparently retarded?

      • JP says:

        Maybe he was ok, maybe he wasn’t, but told Girardi he was ok to play anyway. Remember the debacle last season when he hit like .200 with no power for 6 weeks or whatever it was, after getting beaned on the wrist. Not to make too much of this, but watch his hitting….

        • jsbrendog says:

          i turned the game on the inning before he came through with the tying hit. i saw him at short and said to my gf, i bet he has no hits and is playing hurt because he thinks theyre better off with a sucky injured jeter than another guy wihle he gets better.

          and i was right. he had no hits. until he shut me up and drove in the tying run. after i said watch he’ll either gidp and the run will score or he’ll hit a sac fly but he’ll come through. i was so happy when he singled.

  13. Jackson says:

    4.1 scoreless innings for the bullpen in this series. It’s weird it’s almost as if when the starters pitch well, go deep in the game, and the bullpen isn’t throwing 4 innings a day they’re pretty solid.

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